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Zeke Holdout: Remember, Owners Agreed to Renegotiating Contracts

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott, Jerry Jones

One of the most common criticisms that I've seen of Ezekiel Elliott during his contract holdout is that he's asking for more money with two years left on his deal. What's important to remember is that Zeke is only taking advantage of a provision that the union fought for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and one that the owners ultimately agreed to.

The terms of the current CBA are the final product of a tug-of-war between owners and players; and series of give-and-take decisions in which each side takes acceptable wins and losses to achieve desired outcomes.

Under the CBA, NFL players are allowed to renegotiate their rookie contracts after three years. This does not change if the player was a 1st-round pick, like Elliott, who had an extra year added to his contract through the team option.

Dallas took advantage of that option, another provision determined by the CBA, to put a fifth year on Zeke's contract. Even though it increases his salary to over $9 million in 2020, that will still be well below market value ($13-$15M) for one of the league's top running backs.

But Elliott has every right under the same CBA to seek a new deal after his third season. He is simply utilizing an opportunity that Jerry Jones and the other 31 owners approved.

Nobody faults an NFL team when they cut an under-performing player in the middle of his contract. The guaranteed money gets paid out and everything happens according to the allowances of the CBA. It's just part of the business of football.

Why should a player out-performing his contract not get the same rights?

Ezekiel Elliott Already Has Second Rushing Title Locked Down

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

When you say, "But Zeke has two years left on his contract," you are looking at it from a one-sided perspective. You're also basically siding with NFL ownership and management, which I doubt many would want to admit to.


Few are criticizing Carson Wentz for getting a new deal after Year 3, just as few are questioning Dak Prescott for seeking the same. Ezekiel Elliott was in their draft class; he's put in the same three years of service that they have.

Like the Cowboys did with Zeke, the Eagles picked up Wentz's 5th-year option back early in the spring. At that point, Carson had two years left on his rookie deal just like Elliott. But Wentz and Philadelphia agreed on a major contract extension in June.

Of course, there were some differences in these situations. The Eagles wanted to get a new deal done with Wentz before the market value increased, and potentially before he had a monster season in 2019. They didn't want to risk having to make him the highest-paid QB in the NFL in 2020.

Elliott has already put in his work, leading the NFL in rushing production the last three years. He can already make a reasonable claim to be the highest-paid RB in football, and that is the dilemma now between he and the Cowboys.

We can argue plenty, and already have, about the value of paying any RB what Elliott is seeking. That's not the point of this article.

My issue is with criticizing Zeke for seeking the money now because he has two years left on his contract. That is a technicality; something that only exists because the Cowboys took advantage of a specific provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

That same CBA allows players to seek a new deal after three seasons. Ezekiel Elliott has every right to ask for it now.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Game Notes

NYJ 24, DAL 22: Cowboys Comeback Comes Up Short Again

Jess Haynie

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Is 2019 Jason Garrett's Last Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys? 1

The Cowboys are now 3-3 after creating another halftime deficit and not being able to overcome it. Their losing streak continued with a 24-22 loss to the previously winless New York Jets.

Dallas trailed 21-6 at halftime in one of the more embarrassing first halves of football we've seen this team play. It took an improbable 62-yard field goal from Brett Maher to give them some kind of positive feeling heading into the locker room.

The worse sequence came earlier in that quarter. Trailing just 7-3 at that point, the Cowboys marched over 50 yards to put themselves in scoring position. But a 4th-down try came up short, and then the Jets answered with a 92-yard touchdown pass from Sam Darnold to Robby Anderson.

That play seemed to knock the wind out of Dallas' sails, and they were still reeling on the Jets' next possession when New York scored another touchdown on a six-play, 65-yard drive.


The Cowboys struggled early on offense, and that had a lot to do with missing personnel. They went into the game without Randall Cobb, Tyron Smith, or La'el Collins suiting up. Then Amari Cooper had to exit early with a quad injury and didn't return.

The halftime adjustments were there. Dallas outscored New York 16-3 in the second half and pulled within two points on a late touchdown run by Dak Prescott. But the two-point conversion attempt failed when Dak got hit and tossed an errant ball to a blanketed Jason Witten.

Another week. Another loss. And now the Eagles are coming to town next Sunday night.

If the Cowboys don't start figuring out how to play well early, this season is only going to get uglier.

Other Notes

  • Prescott put in an admirable effort given the amount of pressure that Gregg Williams' defense was applying. He completed 28-of-40 passes for 277 yards and had the rushing score, giving up no sacks or turnovers.
  • Dak's rushing TD, the 20th of his career, tied Roger Staubach for the most in Cowboys QB history.
  • Ezekiel Elliott had a big day with 105 yards on the ground and another 47 receiving, plus a rushing touchdown. One of his biggest plays won't show up in the stat sheet; he drew a defensive pass interference call on the Cowboys' final drive running a deep route as a receiver.
  • Brett "Mixed Bag" Maher gave you the full range of his wows and woes today. That 62-yarder was truly special, putting him in rare company as just the third NFL kicker to ever hit multiple kicks of 60 or more. However, he also missed one from just 40 yards out. The Cowboys have now lost two games by just two points in which Maher missed an easy field goal.
  • Chalk up two more sacks for Robert Quinn, who has five now in just four games. Outside of those plays, few Cowboys even breathed on Sam Darnold today.
  • Jourdan Lewis got more playing time today with Anthony Brown getting hurt, and he did what he tends to do with a clutch interception. Lewis' picked off Darnold early in the third quarter after the Jets had driven down to the Dallas' 11. It helped keep New York off the scoreboard and was critical to the Cowboys' comeback efforts.
  • Thankfully, this loss did not cost Dallas their shared NFC East lead with the Eagles. Philadelphia also fell today in their road game against the Vikings. Both teams are now 3-3 as they prepare for next week's rivalry game.


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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Win In The Trenches, Limit Le’Veon Bell

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys DT's Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods Primed for Monster Seasons

My biggest wish of the day is for the Dallas Cowboys to win their football game. It's been more than two weeks since we've been able to enjoy a good victory. The New York Jets present us with a favorable matchup and what should be an easy game for the Cowboys. However, this is the NFL, and surprising things can happen any given Sunday. Dallas can't take this game for granted.

Let's get into this week's Cowboys Wishlist! Make sure to let me know yours in the comments section below or tweet them at me @MauNFL and let's talk football!

Wish #1: No Turnovers

Last week's performance was a painful one to watch. While we can take a look at every single aspect of the game to find out why the Cowboys lost, it's actually pretty simple. Dak Prescott and the Dallas' offense turned the ball over three times. If you have a -3 turnover differential, you're losing that games nine times out of ten.

The Cowboys offense is better than given credit for, but if they keep handing the ball to opposing teams, no one will notice that. It's a simple wish, but an important one. Just stop turning the ball over.

Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, Defensive Tackle

Dallas Cowboys DT Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods

Wish #2: Win in the Trenches, Limit Le'Veon Bell

As Aaron Jones plowed his way through the Cowboys' defense for 107 yards and four rushing touchdowns, the lack of quality defensive tackle play was very noticeable. The defense was pushed around in the trenches just about every play. Antwaun Woods has been injured recently, but not even with him coming back will the Cowboys solve their problems.


As the team's three-technique, Maliek Collins has also struggled to stop the run and bring pressure. This time, they're facing a Jets offense that's led by RB Le'Veon Bell. Could things go south versus a 0-4 New York squad? I doubt it, but if they do, I'd bet it's because of Bell. Hopefully, the Cowboys win the battle.

Wish #3: Blake Jarwin Plays More

I can't get over the fact that with the Cowboys trailing late in the game last Sunday, it was Jason Witten who was still on the field and not Blake Jarwin. I love Witten, but doesn't Jarwin have better deep-threat potential? I've been surprised by #82 and how well he's played since coming back, but I'm still a firm believer that Jarwin should get more playing time.

Through five weeks, Jarwin has played on 125 of the offensive snaps while Witten has been in for 240. I wish Jarwin gets more playing time today.

Dallas Cowboys Need Better From These 3 Players 1

Wish #4: Cowboys Start Fast

What is wrong with the Cowboys when the games start? They have yet to have a good start this season. Even when they faced the Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and the Miami Dolphins they struggled to get it going. I don't know if it's an execution problem or bad play-scripting from the coaches but this will get the Cowboys in trouble if it isn't fixed.

It's a 60-minute game and if you start playing well late, you'll be beaten as the season goes on. The Cowboys need to figure this out, and the Jets are a fortunate opponent to get back on track.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Win In The Trenches, Limit Le’Veon Bell" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Game Notes

Will Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence Finally Go Off Against Jets?

Jess Haynie

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Lookout Deshaun Watson, QB Sack Leader DeMarcus Lawrence is Coming!

With only 2.5 sacks in five games thus far in 2019, DeMarcus Lawrence is currently on pace to have less than 10 sacks on the season. That would be a disappointment for all parties after the Cowboys defensive end just signed a massive contract extension this offseason, but today's game against the New York Jets may give him a chance to make up some ground.

The Jets have been abysmal at protecting their quarterbacks so far this year. Despite only playing four games, being one of the few NFL teams to already have its bye week, New York has given up a league-high 23 sacks already in 2019.

That's almost six sacks per game. Six!

Granted, some of that volume has come from having third-string QB Luke Falk playing the last three weeks. But even when Sam Darnold was playing in Week One he still got taken down four times.

The opportunities should be there for Lawrence to pad his stats. Even just a two-sack day would greatly boost his numbers, but there's potential for more with how bad the Jets have been at pass protection.

DeMarcus' slow start in 2019 has been due to a variety of factors. For one, he missed almost all of training camp and preseason practices by remaining on the PUP list until August 20th. Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery and was recovering until just a few weeks before Week One.


Another reason is that, at least through the first four weeks of 2019, Tank was the most double-teamed edge rusher in the entire NFL.

That hasn't been all bad for the Cowboys. After all, the attention that Lawrence draws has helped Robert Quinn get off to a hot start since his Week 3 debut.

In fact, Quinn may be who prevents Tank from having a big day in New York. It will be interesting to see which guy gets to the QB first.

There's also a chance that, if this game winds up being a blowout, Dallas will limit Lawrence's playing time due to some nagging injuries. They want their franchise DE ready to chase down Carson Wentz next Sunday night.

Wins are bigger than stats, of course. DeMarcus Lawrence gets that and hopefully most fans do as well. His impact is bigger than just sacks; just his presence can positively impact games and create opportunities for other pass rushers and blitzers.

Still, we all love seeing our favorite Cowboys among the league leaders at season's end. Lawrence probably won't be catching Shaquil Barrett (9 sacks) this year, but hopefully today's game allows him to move up the board.


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